The MoonSwatch Speedmaster is a Swatch-produced homage to the Omega Speedmaster Professional which first went on sale Saturday, March 26th, 2022 — and that caused chaos at Swatch stores around the world.
The most incredible thing about the MoonSwatch is that you get a “Swiss Made” quartz chronograph, that looks like a real Omega Speedmaster Professional Moonwatch, with a low-cost, high-tech bioceramic case — for under three hundred dollars. Not to mention, the 2022 MoonSwatch Speedmaster comes in eleven cool color schemes. Everything from the Speedmaster logo to the “dot over ninety” to the twisted lugs is the same as on the original Speedmaster Professional from 1964, although there are definitely many differences which I’ll explain below.
Despite the little advanced warning, when the MoonSwatch dropped at Swatch stores around the world long queues formed outside of each store which led to confrontations and physical fights at some locations and a stabbing at one. The most adversely affected stores had to temporarily close due to not enough security.
In spite of the craze, the Swatch Group has chosen not to offer the MoonSwatch for sale online — even though that’s what they originally intended to do. You can only buy a MoonSwatch at one of the brick-and-mortar locations, until further notice. This sales strategy makes the MoonSwatch harder to obtain, with many consumers limited by geographic distance from their closest Swatch store. Even if you can make it to the store in person, there are zero guarantees that any will be in stock once you arrive. Not an ideal situation for consumers — and particularly frustrating for everyone I’ve spoken to — especially in the post-pandemic era, where practically everything is available at the press of a button. Nevertheless, like a Ferrari or a Rolex dealer, the manufacturer controls the flow and there’s nothing we can do about it, but there may be hope in the near future, which I explain in the verdict.
MoonSwatch “Mission to Jupiter”
For this review, we tested a MoonSwatch Mission to Jupiter (Ref. SO33C100) which comes with an elegant tan-colored case contrasted by black font and orange Ultraman-style chronograph hands. Interestingly, MoonSwatch designers gave the dial and bezel a lighter shade of beige than the case, resulting in a subtle and highly attractive two-tone aesthetic, which when combined with the orange highlights makes this particular MoonSwatch stand out.
11 Mission Colors to Choose From
If the Mission to Jupiter (beige/orange) is not your style, there are ten other options, each with a Mission to somewhere: Mission to the Sun (yellow/white), Mission to Mercury (gray/black), Mission to Venus (powder pink/white), Mission on Earth (blue/light green), Mission to the Moon (black/gray), Mission to Mars (red/white, “Alaska Project” hands), Mission to Saturn (brown/beige Saturn’s ring at 6), Mission to Neptune (dark blue/light blue), Mission to Pluto (gray/burgundy), and Mission to Uranus (powder blue/white).
Omega Speedmaster Professional vs. MoonSwatch
All MoonSwatch dial variations carry the “OMEGA X Swatch branding,” as well as the official Speedmaster logo and the all-new MoonSwatch logo. In the slow-changing world of watch design, the most coveted watches are timeless and tend to stay the same for decades. The MoonSwatch is a somewhat radical departure from current design norms. On the one hand, the MoonSwatch offers a profile that’s nearly the same as the famous Omega Speedmaster Professional, which dates back to the 1960s. On the other hand, the MoonSwatch colorways and materials represent modern trends and are reminiscent of something that might come from Supreme, not Omega. The MoonSwatch is perhaps the best of both worlds: streetwear and watchmaking combined.
MoonSwatch case compared to an Omega Speedmaster
As mentioned above, many design elements of the original Speedmaster Professional from the 1960s have been used in the MoonSwatch including the asymmetrical case, twisted lugs, and “dot over ninety” on the bezel. The MoonSwatch case measures the exact same 42 mm diameter across as the original Speedmaster Professional case, however, the MoonSwatch is 0.75 mm thinner (13.25 mm vs 14 mm), and 0.50 mm shorter lug-to-lug (47.5 mm vs. 48 mm) than the Speedmaster. They share the same 20 mm lug width and have the same 6.5 mm crown dimensions and the domed plexiglass on the MoonSwatch is comparable to if not identical to the Speedmaster Professional. While the watches are almost identical in dimensions — as a result of the bioceramic case and lighter quartz movement — the MoonSwatch weighs a scant 29.7 grams on the provided strap whereas the 2017 Speedmaster Professional shown above weighs over 80 grams on a strap. Beyond the fact that stainless steel is much more durable against shattering, cracks, and pitting than bioceramic, the Speedmaster Professional also has a screw-in caseback and better gaskets and delivers a 50-meter depth rating compared to the MoonSwatch at 30 meters.
Quality of Construction
You would not expect a sub-three hundred dollar watch to have anywhere near the quality control of a six thousand dollar Speedmaster Professional, and the MoonSwatch doesn’t. Whether you look at the area in between the bezel and the flange around the dial and see the unrefined material holding it together, the non-smooth painted surface of the dial, or the uneven paint on the tips of the stamped aluminum hands — you can see numerous areas where costs were cut. Moreover, bioceramic material, which consists of one-third bio-sourced plastic and two-thirds ceramic allows Swatch to offer a comfortable and lightweight case that’s far more cost-effective to produce than a case constructed out of stainless steel.
Swiss quartz movement
Another significant cost-cutting measure comes by way of using a Swiss quartz movement versus the far more expensive Swiss mechanical movement that powers the Speedmaster Professional. The hands of this particular watch had some play in them, which can be manually corrected if they become misaligned by pulling the crown out to the first and second positions and hitting the pushers as needed to realign the hands. With this particular MoonSwatch, the chronograph tenth of a second hand became misaligned by a millimeter or so and was not able to be fully corrected using the technique above. However, according to Jordan Ficklin, a master watchmaker who contributes to Professional Watches, “There is play in the gears of a quartz watch which makes it hard to always have the hand hit the mark. Additionally, unlike a mechanical chronograph which has cams and a break to keep the hands from moving. The magnet in the rotor of the motor is all that is keeping the hands from moving which makes it hard to make slight adjustments as you install the hands. I would consider this acceptable.”
If you’ve ever wanted a Speedmaster, in a random color like beige, yellow and white, or even pink, then this could be what you’ve been looking for. And if you’ve ever wanted a Speedmaster, without having to spend thousands of dollars, this is also your chance.
The MoonSwatch Speedmaster dimensions are nearly identical to a Speedmaster Professional. The MoonSwatch is three-quarters of a millimeter thinner and half of a millimeter shorter lug-to-lug than the Speedmaster Professional — otherwise, the dimensions are nearly identical.
After trying out the included nylon and velcro strap, which is 20 mm wide from end to end, with no taper, I was not wowed by the feel of the material as it’s rather rigid and tends to hang over the edge on my wrist on the bottom end of the watch, much like a typical one-piece nato-strap, even though it’s a two-piece strap. That said, after wearing it a while, and somewhat breaking in the material, the look and feel have grown on me — and the lack of metal hardware makes this a good option for working on a laptop without worrying about scratching it. Plus, it’s easy to swap the strap out and there are some alternatives to the factory strap such as molded FKM or silicone straps that are custom-made to fit the MoonSwatch case.
Knowing that Swatch is the high-volume watch brand of the Swatch Group SA and that restricting production or sales of MoonSwatches in any way reduces the volume and revenue that can be generated and with the holiday season not far off, hopefully, a larger allocation might arrive to satiate some of the demand, although this is purely speculative and Swatch has not confirmed anything regarding future inventory allocation plans.
Being made of bioceramic is certainly not as reassuring as the stainless steel cased Speedmaster Professional, but the MoonSwatch Speedmaster is less than half the weight, at a mere fraction of the cost, with the smooth feel of ceramic — you might not miss the stainless steel as much as you thought.
The retail price is $260. Learn more at Swatch.
MoonSwatch Mission to Jupiter
Total Weight: 29.7 grams
Case Diameter: 42 mm
Case Thickness: 13.25 mm
Lug-to-lug: 47.5 mm
Lug width: 20 mm
Crown Diameter: 6.5 mm
Glass: Plexiglass (Domed)
Movement: Swiss quartz
Depth Rating: 30 meters